"Köln - Paris; Four Hours Six Minutes"

photo: corona terrace, quai du louvre

There's nothing wrong with La Corona's terrace, but club meetings are held inside all the same.

The 'Report' of the 45th Weekly Meeting

Paris:- Thursday, 10. August 2000:- It's club day again and it seems to actually be summer after all my recent doubts. It is not nearly as perfect as the nearly-perfect Tuesday about nine days ago, but it is not as hot or humid either.

I think I can put on my 'african' shirt without putting any jinx on it. I try on my $10 'Miami Vice' jacket too, but it has been in the closet even longer than the shirt, so its padded shoulders look like lumpy padding - which they are - sitting on top of my own shoulders. Too bad, old pal - back to the closet for you until Halloween.

Out on the avenue on the way to the métro, the light is right with its unblinding brightness mixed with spatterings of shade from the trees. Between pleasant and very good, the day is comfortably balanced.

The métro ride itself is unremarkable. The accordionist isn't great and there are no outlandish passengers. There's lots of empty seats. The Saint-Germain station, with its new 'literary-look,' looksphoto: stephan nowak just as bare as any station would without the customary panoramic métro posters.

Black slanted text is projected on its white tiled-brick walls, and there's some sort of display low down in the dimness below. At least it's not white text projected onto black tiles; Web-page-style.

Stephen isn't sure he wants to leave Paris, even after two years here.

From Châtelet to La Corona along the Seine there are a lot of strollers ambling along the quay's sidewalks; cluttered with café terraces, plant shop displays and the pet shops. The last block is solid with café terraces, ending with La Corona's, which has more seats taken than I've seen for a long time.

After I toss the standard 'greets' around the café the new 'waiter of the day' tells me I can't sit in the club's area because it is reserved. I tell him I'm it, the club, for which it is reserved. Nobody else at all is in the 'Grande Salle.'

Before I can continue reading a 'New Yorker' article I started on the plane ride back from my holidays - about going bust on the Internet - Doug Fuss strolls up and snags a chair.

Doug has escaped from the 95 percent humidity of Savannah, Georgia. He is also a long-time club regular, who signed on during a meeting late last December. We discuss humidity and he concludes that New Orleans has the worst.

Instead of 'wind-chill factor,' Doug says, they have a 'heat index.' This is why he comes to Paris, which has no such thing of either. I think it should have an 'over-long winter scale.'

Without warning Stephen Nowak is at thephoto: doug fuss table, asking, "Where's Marion?" Doug says she's probably in Samaritaine. Stephen looks worried for two seconds.

Stephen Nowak signed on as a member at club meeting number 33; preceded by Marion Nowak who prepared the way for him by joining the club during meeting 27.

Doug prefers Paris' low humidity to Savannah's over-abundance.

According to Stephen, Marion is collecting loot because they are leaving Paris after two years to return to Germany, to Köln, or Cologne as it is known off-continent. Stephen is a physicist and he's got himself a good job there which has a free white professor's coat thrown in with the deal.

Köln is on a direct line to Gare du Nord, so it is not as if its all the way to Moscow. But, work-oblige, the Nowaks may not attend many more club meetings unless they are held on weekends. All the same Stephen says, "Köln - Paris; four hours six minutes."

This becomes, of course, the 'Quote of the Week.' Way to go Köln!

When Marion arrives and after she takes off her 'Zorro' hat - remember it? - she agrees with Doug about Krakow in Poland being a good place to visit if you get tired of riding on Danube cruise liners. I think there may be good sausages there, because the Krakowauer is very popular in Hamburg.

Since half of us are German today, Doug tells us his German joke. It is a joke that was told to him by residents of Heidelberg. "Heidelberg is beautiful," they said, "Because the Americans bombed the rest of Germany to rubble, saving Heidelberg for their HQ."

This leads to everybody's stock of 'Berliner' jokes and somehow Marion tops it all off with the observation that, "Hungarian is impossible!"

Stephen then astonishes us with the news that Frankfurt's FAZ newspaper has returned to old-style 'correct' text - which was called 'rechtschreibung,' the same as the 'new' version.

Apparently, some years ago Germany decided to streamline its written language, by suppressing some odd characters like the 'ß' in 'daß' for example, and tossing out 'umlauts' - which are the cute 'ü's with two little dots over them.

Everybody thought the reform meant freedom to write German any old way - somewhat like I dophoto:marion nowak because I don't know any better - and this has resulted in making a shambles out of the written language.

This line is certainly philosophical, and it attracts a passing fly. It won't shoo away, so Doug declares it to be the 'Animal of the Week' which is not quite correct because it is an insect - but 'animal' is what I write in the club's 'reports' booklet - so 'animal' is what it is.

Marion is smiling because she's remembered what she hasn't got from Samaritaine yet.

Doug has another surprise for us. After umpteen years split between here and Savannah, he is determined to learn French. He has signed up for lessons and will start hitting the books soon.

On this note of satisfaction with the course of the club's meeting and the day in general, a great number of small coins are dumped on the table to cover our consumptions - and outside the day has still a lot of good promise in it even if the Quai du Louvre traffic is as tinny and irrational as usual.

The New 'About the Café Metropole Club' Page

For new readers and club members who may have forgotten photo: end of club drinkswhat the above 'report' may be about, details about the Metropole Paris Club for readers in Paris have been moved onto a permanent page which is accessible from each week's main 'contents' page.

This is how the club's cocktails look when the meeting is nearly over.

The 'About the Café Metropole Club' page - also accessible here - contains the details of membership, the members' card and the other unofficial non-rules concerning the club and how it operates. If you think you need to know more about all this bumpf about the club, please read this 'About' page.

Date, Time and Location of Next Meeting

The date for the club's next meeting is Thursday, 17. August, which is Saint-Hyacinthe Day in Paris. On this date the café La Corona meeting place will again be open like today - and the time for your club's meeting remains from 15:00 to 17:00 - which is also known as 3 pm to 5 pm.

Come to the next meeting just as you are - especially if you happen to be in Paris.

The café's location remains:

Café-Tabac La Corona
2. Rue de l'Amiral Coligny - or - 30. Quai du Louvre, Paris 1.
Métro: Louvre-Rivoli or Pont-Neuf

A bientôt à Paris,
signature, regards, ric

Send email concerning the
contents to: Ric Erickson, Editor.
Metropole Midi © 2014
– unless stated otherwise.
logo, metropole sml midi logo No matter how good it tastes,
there is no such thing
as a free lunch.
Waldo Bini